CTA to Wicker Park Building: No Fat Bricks
Jul20

CTA to Wicker Park Building: No Fat Bricks

Losing weight is hard.  If it was easy, there wouldn’t be an entire industry built around it.  But you can’t just call up Weight Watchers and ask Marie Osmond to help you knock a few pounds off an overweight building. Rendering of Alcove Wicker Park That was the dilemma faced by Vermillion Wicker Park LLC recently when it got a letter in the mail from the Chicago Transit Authority.  Some smart people did the math...

Read More
First Pictures Releasd of Downtown to O’Hare Electric Skate Loop Track
Jul09

First Pictures Releasd of Downtown to O’Hare Electric Skate Loop Track

Last month the tech world was all atwitter over the announcement that billionaire socialite Bruce Wayne… er… Elon Musk would scratch Chicago’s itch for a better way between downtown and O’Hare airport than the CTA’s Blue Line or IDOT’s Kennedy Expressway. Back then, you could color us skeptical.  We’ve seen this promise time and time again.  The closest Chicago ever came was a decade ago when...

Read More
From Parking to Petunias? Market Makeover Proposed for Logan Square Blue Line Lot
Jan09

From Parking to Petunias? Market Makeover Proposed for Logan Square Blue Line Lot

The process of elevating Chicago’s surface parking lots to higher purposes continues not only in the downtown area, but also in the neighborhood commercial corridors. One of the more visible urban keystones being reconsidered is the parking lot adjacent to the Blue Line subway station in Logan Square. There’s been a lot of talk lately about building some kind of residential structure there dedicated entirely to affordable...

Read More
CTA’s New Belmont Station Plan Includes More Dinosaur Ribs
Oct20

CTA’s New Belmont Station Plan Includes More Dinosaur Ribs

The Chicago Transit Authority continues to get improving marks when it comes to public sector architecture. For decades, the bus and train quango’s attention to design was… shall we say… less than inspired.  But that’s changed in recent years, starting with the 35th Street Red Line Station, the Morgan Orange/Pink Line station, then the Cermak Green Line Station, and finally the very ambitious Washington/Wabash...

Read More
With Renovations Both Planned and Unplanned, it’s a Big Week for CTA’s Blue Line
Mar26

With Renovations Both Planned and Unplanned, it’s a Big Week for CTA’s Blue Line

It’s only Wednesday, and already it’s been a busy week for the Chicago Transit Authority. Starting with the beginning of construction on the $492 million planned renovation of the Blue Line from downtown to the big airport to the involuntary and catastrophic renovation of the Blue Line’s O’Hare station in the middle of the night. So this might be a good opportunity for those of us who are transit-bound to...

Read More
Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?
Aug06

Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?

Months after getting an exemption to a city ordinance prohibiting large signs on its facade, Block37 (1 West Randolph Street) is finally installing metal fins on its exterior that will soon bear the names of the stores within. The downtown mall’s position on the edge between the city’s Theater District and its historic State Street district left it in an unusual situation – it was not allowed to have vertical signs of any...

Read More
Will a Scrawnier Wolf Get Everyone on Point?
Nov05

Will a Scrawnier Wolf Get Everyone on Point?

The current champion for largest and most controversial development in downtown Chicago (that actually has a chance of happening) is making its way through the approval process largely unscathed. Wolf Point (350 North Orleans Street) is the lupine child of Houston-based global mega-developer Hines, and Chicago-based local really-wanna-be-huge-someday developer Magellan.  Their architect, Pelli Clarke Pelli has made some changes to the...

Read More

Chicago’s Underground History

I saw something interesting the other day while waiting for a Blue Line train in the Clinton Station.  There are signs on two of the columns giving a little history of the station.  The text is from the best (only?) fan site about the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago-L.  It’s a nice touch, but I haven’t seen anything similar at any of the other subway stations....

Read More
Will Chicago Finally Get a New Supertall Skyscraper?
Jul22

Will Chicago Finally Get a New Supertall Skyscraper?

Yesterday, grand plans were unveiled for redeveloping Chicago’s old Main Post Office (433 West Van Buren Street), and the surrounding area.  They include the construction of five residential, hotel, and office skyscrapers perched atop a massive parking, retail, and transit podium spanning the Chicago River. The highest profile portion of the project is a 120-story tower to be built just west of the river at 350 West Harrison...

Read More

Slice of Life: Water Crossing

It’s a scene you’ve seen a thousand times.  But somehow there’s something about the sight of a train crossing a bridge over a road over a river over another train (in the Lake Street subway tunnel) that captures the...

Read More